Luciano Becchio bids to emerge from the shadows at Norwich City

Posted by Paddy Davitt

Jan Kruger/Getty ImagesLuciano Becchio hopes his preseason will earn him more minutes up top for Norwich City manager Chris Hughton.

There is a likeable quality to the personable Luciano Becchio that you hope translates into Premier League success.

The big Argentine forward opened his goal account for the Canaries in their 3-0 friendly win over the Mexican side Dorados de Sinaloa in Sacramento, California at the start of Norwich's three-game USA tour. As Becchio himself said afterwards, it was a trademark goal; powering to the near post to crash home an unstoppable header from close-range after anticipating Robert Snodgrass' cross. Both were stars in the white of Leeds before swapping Yorkshire for another rural outpost.

Snodgrass hit the ground running when he arrived last summer and never looked back. The Scottish international was the star of City's difficult early weeks under Chris Hughton's stewardship. His maiden strike for the club salvaged a merited Premier League draw at Tottenham. Further goals and assists flowed and few in Norfolk would have any complaints if he had edged Sebastien Bassong out of the player-of-the-year running instead of settling for a close-run second spot.

Becchio's career path since making the same move has been one of frustration and minimal opportunities to impress. His debut came in a rather thankless shift as a lone frontman in a drab goalless league draw against Fulham in February. Becchio was trapped in a muscular pincer by the Cottagers' centre backs Brede Hangeland and Philippe Senderos. Only one further start over the run-in saw the 29-year-old from Corboba consigned to a bit part role. Becchio plundered goals aplenty in the Football League, but the step up to the top flight is seismic one; particularly when he found himself in a system that largely nullified his talents.

Becchio is a penalty box predator who needs copious service from wide areas. City's route to Premier League survival was forged on defensive solidity and set piece proficiency wrapped around the frame of Grant Holt. Holt has now departed for pastures new, along with James Vaughan, Chris Martin and Simeon Jackson. The Canaries' striking stocks are in need of replenishment. Ricky van Wolfswinkel is the only fresh summer addition at the sharp end of the pitch. Norwich tried and failed to entice Ola Toivonen from PSV Eindhoven and attention has now switched to southern Europe and potential pickings in Serie A.

But in the meantime, Becchio has his chance in the spotlight. As he himself acknowledged, Sacramento's Raley Field in preseason is a world away from the Premier League. But it is a start. And it was also a pertinent reminder that he brings a different dimension to Hughton's forward options which should not be underestimated nor undervalued during the campaign ahead.


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